Panthers' second straight upset bid falls short

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kammron Taylor crashed to the floor with a thud and then picked himself up and got back into the action. When his Wisconsin teammates were stumbling, he was there to pick them up, too.

Taylor scored 16 points in a reserve role, including a jumper and four free throws in the final minute, and the Badgers held off Northern Iowa for a 57-52 win Friday night in the Syracuse Regional.

"He seemed a little more calm when he knocked down those last couple shots," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "That was a welcome sight because we were bleeding then, and we had to stop the bleeding."

Wisconsin (23-8) started with brilliant 3-point shooting, but that fizzled and the Badgers struggled to get any basket until Taylor darted into the lane and knocked down a shot with a minute to play.

"You can't hit every shot you take, and we went cold," Taylor said. "We're a good enough team, we had a cushion, and we made the shots when it counted. That's all that matters."

Wisconsin will face 14th-seeded Bucknell in the second round Sunday. The Bison upset third-seeded Kansas 64-63.

The Panthers, who had a chance to tie eventual Final Four participant Georgia Tech on their final possession in the first round of last year's tournament, rallied from an early 16-point deficit before having another upset bid fall short.

Sharif Chambliss hit a season-high five 3-pointers and had 15 points for Wisconsin (23-8), which didn't get its usual output from leading scorers Alando Tucker and Mike Wilkinson. Tucker, who was averaging 14.9 points, scored only six and Wilkinson (14.3 per game), had seven.

With Northern Iowa sagging in on Wilkinson and Tucker, the Badgers hit 11-of-26 from 3-point range and eclipsed the school's season record for 3-pointers with 228. The previous record was 225 in the 1993-94 season.

"They were doubling on Wilkinson and Tucker, and other guys had to step up," Taylor said. "I think we did a good job of that."

The Panthers (21-11) cut into Wisconsin's 12-point lead with a run of eight straight points midway through the second half. Ben Jacobson hit a jumper from the left baseline, another from beyond the free-throw line and added a free throw before Erik Crawford completed a three-point play with 9:39 left to cut the lead to 40-36.

Taylor hit a 3-pointer and Chambliss hit two to keep the Badgers out front, but Jacobson responded with a falling right-handed jumper and a 3-pointer coming off a screen at the top of the key.

Chris Foster cut the lead to 51-48 with a 3-pointer from the left wing that rolled all the way around the rim before falling in, but the Panthers failed to score with a chance to tie on their next three possessions and Taylor stretched the lead with a jumper.

The Badgers had two chances to distance themselves further from the Panthers, but Taylor and Wilkinson both missed the front end of one-and-one situations while Northern Iowa missed five shots in a row.

"We had shots that we were looking to get," said Crawford, who finished with 13 points. "In that stretch, I don't think we took a shot that wasn't a good shot or wasn't a shot we haven't made in that situation in previous games.

"If we had to do that over again, we'd probably do the exact same thing," he said.

Northern Iowa's Eric Coleman scored on an offensive rebound with 4.4 seconds left to make it 53-50, but Taylor hit four free throws in a row. Jacobson, who led Northern Iowa with 20 points, hit a runner at the final buzzer.

Wisconsin scored its first 15 points on 3-pointers and started pulling away with a 14-2 run sparked by Taylor's flurry of seven straight points. He hit a 3-pointer from the left side, a driving layup and a jumper before missing a fast-break layup and falling hard to the floor while going for the rebound.

He left with a sore left hand, but the Badgers kept rolling. Chambliss hit his third 3-pointer of the game, Tucker put back his own miss and Andreas Helmigk dropped in a right-handed layup for a 26-10 Wisconsin lead.

Jacobson, the Panthers' leading scorer with a 17.8-point average, hit his first basket with 4:21 left in the half and sparked a 12-4 run to pull the Panthers to 30-22 at halftime.

"We just came out flat," said Jacobson, who missed his first four shots. "I don't think we were as aggressive as we should have been early on in the game."